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The official made this troubling statement during a conference about sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in Colombia. Two days after the international day against sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and children on September 23, a march organised by Muralla Soy Yo took place in central Cartagena and saw hundreds parade though the city with banners, and then embrace the symbolic city walls of the old town of Cartagena, in a bit to raise public awareness about the problem.
In Colombia there are an estimated 35, children involved in the sex industry, with 2, of them in the Caribbean tourist hot spot of Cartagena. Medellin has refuted the claims. The Channel 4 documentary shows areas of Medellin where underage sex workers are working in the open with no concern of police interference.
Even though the legal age of consent is 14 in Colombia, the law is very clear on that fact that paying for sex with a minor under the age of 18 is illegal. El Tiempo cited police sources who stated that they were aware of a hotel racket which allowed sex with minors, of which there are roughly 20 in the center of Medellin alone. Child sex workers live in a world of extortion and intimidation and are often obliged to pay for use of hotels rooms through sex with the owners.
Children must also pay for their security, but with sex, as well as for permission to work in the streets. In the center of Medellin, near to Parque Berrio metro station and seconds from Botero square, one of the main tourist spots in the city is an area well known for underage sex workers. El Tiempo report a rising trend of tourists visiting the square to ask for Pokemon, girls between the ages of 10 and 12 years old.
Unnamed police sources states that foreigners will be charged more, but are often offered various young girls to choose from. Medellin councilman Luis Bernardo Velez stated after the documentary was aired, that he has been campaigning the local council to tackle this problem for a number of years, but has seen little effort made to deal with the problem, and assure these exploited youths are safely cared for.